AKSYON Demokratiko standard-bearer Isko Moreno Domagoso on Wednesday said the island province of Guimaras can serve as a template for food sufficiency, which, hopefully, can be replicated in other provinces of the country.
Moreno and his Aksyon Demokratiko slate barnstormed Guimaras and they were warmly welcomed by Gov. Samuel Gumarin and other local officials of the island province known for its sweet mangoes of export quality.
“Ang isang napagkwentuhan namin ni Governor kanina, nakakatuwa na ang isang isla katulad ng Guimaras nagpapadala pa ng pagkain sa labas ng isla. So, ibig sabihin magandang maging modelo ang Guimaras sa food sufficiency. They produce their own rice, in fact sobra pa nga. They reserve for the summer tapos nagpapadala pa sila sa Iloilo,” Moreno told reporters during an ambush interview in this Western Visayan province.
“So, that’s one food basket. Then, proper zoning. Meron silang ecozone, gateway zone, food basket zone, and tourism zone. Yun yung kini-kwento ni Gov kanina. Tapos they produce their own electricity through renewable energy at nasu-sustain nila ang kanilang utility,” the 47-year-old presidential candidate said.
Guimaras is well known for its agricultural crops, particularly mangoes, where some 50,000 trees are planted.
Guimaras Island is famous for producing some of the sweetest mangoes globally, thus earning the nickname “Mango Capital of the Philippines” from local and foreign tourists.
“May dawalang magandang high-value crop – kasoy at manga. In fact, may biro-biro nga dito na yung foreigner daw kumain ng mangga Guimaras eh hindi na binalatan kasi pati balat daw matamis,” Moreno jokingly said.
Moreno continued: “So, imagine a country can be proud of a particular product throughout the world, I mean gusto ng mundo, mamahalin ng mundo. So, ito yung mga bagay na magandang pagtuunan ng pansin ng gobyerno. But it’s the other way around. Gawin syang magandang ehemplo kasi alam naman natin 7,100 islands, archipelagic country tayo. So, if Guimaras can do it, I think it can be duplicated in other islands.”
Moreno pointed out that with the people in Guimaras enjoying a quiet and comfortable life, they have every reason always to wear a beautiful smile.
“Food sufficiency, high-value crop, sustainable energy, tapos nakita ko kanina magagandang eskuwelahan nandidito rin. So talagang, mukhang makikita mo mukhang masayahin ang mga tao dito sa Guimaras,” Moreno said.
Agriculture is one of the main pillars of Moreno’s 10-point “Bilis Kilos Economic Agenda”, which will be his administration’s roadmap that will accelerate human and economic growth under his administration.
With Guimaras Island being a favored destination by foreign and domestic tourists due to its picturesque beaches, waterfalls and springs, the Manila City mayor stressed that an “Isko Moreno presidency” will prioritize the tourism and transportation industries to be able to provide more jobs to the people.
“Yes, in fact kagabi nagwo-worry ako dahil tinanong ko si Doc Willie na mukhang nagkaka-surge muli sa mga ibang bansa at alam natin na mga lockdown, ang unang tinatamaan ay tourism and transport industries. Yan ang laging tinatamaan, mga driver at nagtra-trabaho sa tourism industry. So, kailangan talaga in order to survive, yung tourism industry should be prepared,” Moreno said.
If he becomes president, Moreno maintained he will never resort to lockdowns whenever there is a surge in COVID-19 cases because that will only make people’s lives miserable.
“So, we welcome tourists, but they should follow health protocols like testing, vaccination. Tapos we learn how to live with COVID-19 and go back to work safely. So, ako may awa ang Diyos hindi ako maglo-lockdown. Why? Two years is enough for us to understand Covid that there is a cycle of [a] surge, may pagtaas, may pagbaba. May paglakas, may paghina. But what matters most is we should prepare,” Moreno explained.
Moreno also said building a national fiber-optic infrastructure to boost the country’s communication capability, such as internet and cellular telephone, will be a priority under his term.
Citing the Philippines’ archipelagic geography, he said a stable and reliable internet connection is crucial to education, economic growth, and information dissemination during calamities.
“Well ang una kong pangarap is the Internet highway or what we call the Internet backbone. So, from Batanes to Tawi-Tawi that will cost about P80 billion. But with the technology ngayon, baka mamaya mas feasible yun kay Elon Musk na idea. Kasi in that case hindi na ako mag-fa-fiber, hindi na ako mag-build ng communication backbone, Pwede na siya sa dulo ‘pag meron pa tayong extrang pera for stability. Kasi wala ng pinakamatibay kundi wired. But in this case kasi technology mabilis ang development. So, if we have Starlink in the Philippines kahit bundok ng tralala, gitna ng West Philippine Sea, gitna ng Pacific Ocean, sa dulo ng walang hanggan may Internet coverage ang Pilipinas through low orbiter satellite,’ Moreno said.
Moreno said he wants to see the project continuity and completion of the Panay Guimaras Negros Bridges (PGNB), the 32-km mega bridge project connecting Panay, Guimaras, and Negros, which aims to allow easier access and convenient transportation between the three islands.
“Anything that will develop, connect our islands not only for Guimaras and Iloilo maybe other islands also as I have said with Bohol, Mactan, or Lapu-Lapu to Cebu. Marami kasing islands na puwede naman because Macao, Hong Kong with high current ng dagat ng Macao-Hong Kong napakataas ng current na yun, they built the bridge it in what? Less than 5 years. That’s about, I don’t know, 20 plus kilometers in the middle of the ocean. So, baka kaya rin,” Moreno said.
After barnstorming the provinces of Aklan and Capiz on Tuesday, Moreno and the rest of Team Aksyon Demokratiko traveled to Guimaras where he paid a courtesy call to Gov. Samuel Gumarin.
Team Isko then attended a town hall meeting at the San Miguel Capitol Gymnasium, where thousands of residents of Jordan, the Guimaras capital, excitedly waited to see the Aksyon Demokratiko presidential candidate in person.
With Moreno were his running mate Dr. Willie Ong, senatorial bets Carl Balita, Samira Gutoc, and Jopet Sison, guest candidate John Castriciones of PDP-Laban, and Mothers for Change party-list first nominee Mocha Uson.